Executive Vice President of Human Resources
What is the proudest accomplishment of your career, thus far?
The proudest accomplishment of my career thus far has definitely been realized in my current role. As a member of our Executive Leadership Team, I’ve had the distinct pleasure of watching our culture evolve over the past year. Our mission, vision and values are important to us as the leadership team. In different platforms and settings, I’ve spent time with our middle management and employee population discussing what mission, vision and values mean to them and our organization’s future. Purpose matters in today’s world. It’s humbling and I feel honored to see how our mission, vision and values touch the lives of so many of our employees and create a common purpose.
What is your best advice to other women who want to excel in the automotive aftermarket? What is one thing the industry could do better or do differently to support women in the aftermarket?
My best advice to other women who want to excel in the automotive aftermarket is to just be yourself. Oftentimes, women are told that we live in a man’s world. We’re told the automotive aftermarket is a “good ol’ boys” network with legacy beliefs and perspectives. We’re told to fit that mold and we’ll succeed. That’s not true. Be yourself. You have your own education, experiences and perspectives that need to be brought to the table. Your views are necessary to shape the industry today and where the industry is going tomorrow. Our customers are not just men, they’re also women. So, why do we feel that we need to be who we are not? Have confidence in who you are and what your own value proposition is to your organization.
One thing the industry could do better or do differently to support women in the aftermarket is to educate men in the aftermarket about the role of women. I have attended many seminars, webinars and events tailored toward women in this industry. The common theme of these events is to empower women. I find it interesting that men are not part of these events. Educating men around the role of women in this industry is a missing piece of the puzzle, in my opinion. If we’re going to change the industry’s view of women, we need to require men to attend these educational sessions.
What do you believe are some of the most important skillsets to excel in a career in the aftermarket today?
Some of the most important skillsets to excel in a career in the aftermarket today include understanding the industry and where it’s headed and understanding how to lead people. Those are the two key skillsets. I am constantly working to learn all I can about our industry, customers and suppliers. I want to know their challenges and their opportunities. I want to remain current with how technology is changing how business is done. In parallel, people are the key to success for our business. It’s important to know what motivates employees so we can attract and retain top talent, tie their motivations to our purpose, and create an environment where they’re personally driven to take care of our customers.
Are there any ways that you have personally mentored women to further their careers in the automotive aftermarket?
There are ways I have personally mentored women to further their careers in the automotive aftermarket. Many times, it’s informal, while there have also been formal relationships. In all cases, I focus a lot of our conversations around confidence and conviction. Over the years, I’ve learned that women spend a lot of time “asking” for permission to move forward with a decision or an initiative. It’s my belief that the act of asking perpetuates the stereotype that women are apprehensive to make a decision. The reality is, they have already made a decision, but they tend to lean on ensuring that others approve of their decision before it’s executed. Leadership involves humility and a servant leadership approach, but it also requires confidence. Women can further their careers by balancing both and I enjoy helping them to develop that technique.